On a wet Saturday morning in November last year, I was at a playing field close to Agege Stadium, Lagos, to do some workout as I occasionally do.
After about half an hour of physical exercise which included light jogging, stretches and push-ups, I was invited to play in a five-a-side “monkey post” football match with some guys also at the playing ground.
I love playing football, even though I have not had the time to do it as much as I would have loved. I was happy with the invitation, so I quickly joined them.
I knew shortly after the match started that I was completely out of shape and out of form for the physical exertion playing that match required. Thankfully, my passion for the round leather game was enough to make me continue even though I was struggling. Still, I enjoyed the match. Football can be so much fun. If only I had succeeded as a professional footballer, seeing how rich professional footballers, especially those in Europe, are now! That is a digression anyway.
After about half an hour, the match was over and even though my team won and was therefore entitled to play another match with a new team, I excused myself because I was completely fagged out and was gasping for breath. I knew I couldn’t play another match that could last between 30 and 45 minutes. So, I was replaced by another guy.
I rested for some few minutes and headed back home. I was glad I was able to fulfil that weekend routine of workout as I hadn’t done it in a while.
However, five full days after that football kick-about, I was still hurting all over my body. My knees, ankles, ribs and back hurt so badly. I eventually had to take paracetamol tablets which I usually avoid whenever I do exercise as I prefer to allow the associated pain go on its own which is usually the case.
It became clear to me that even though I occasionally exercised, I was not fit enough for the physical exertions of playing football. Those professional footballers are surely earning their money.
That experience however made me to step up my physical exercise. Even though I haven’t been able to do it as much as I like because of other commitments, I have decided to find ways to be more active this year. The fact is that sedentary lifestyle has gradually become the norm in our society despite its far-reaching repercussions on health as warned by health experts.
For many executives, sitting down for a whole week at work and sitting or lying down the whole weekend watching television, playing video game or using a mobile phone or computer has become a constant routine. This widespread apathy to exercise has become a public health emergency as it is linked to a range of chronic health conditions.
Experts have repeatedly warned that leading a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to health risks such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, some type of cancers and cardiovascular disease. The fact that we are now having more cases of sudden death is a further confirmation of the increasing incidence of cardiovascular conditions in this clime.
There is virtually nobody who doesn’t know somebody who suddenly dropped dead. These deaths may not be unconnected with the poor state of cardiovascular health. Therefore, quitting sedentary living by being more physically active may be a good way to start to end these deaths. That is in addition to regular health screenings.
Let me mention that playing football or engaging in other strenuous physical exercise is not the only or even necessarily the best way to be active. Regular brisk walks, taking the stairs instead of lift, standing up to manually change TV channels instead of using the remote control, and leaving your desk to take water from the water dispenser instead of asking someone to do it for you may just be as good as playing a 30 minutes five-a-side football match.
The kind of physical exercise that can be engaged in is also determined by age and other health factors. So, it may be necessary to consult a physician while taking a decision on how to exercise to be active.
What is most important however is that everyone must find ways to be active and making it a new year resolution may just be the best resolution especially for better health for you this year. Welcome to a great 2020!